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MLB rumor roundup: Yankees playing numbers game with Yoshinobu Yamamoto

We’ve got all the latest Hot Stove rumors from around the Majors on Wednesday, including the Red Sox looking for pitching upgrades on the trade market to the Yankees’ pursuit of arguably the top pitcher available.

Yoshinobu Yamamoto of Team Japan reacts while pitching during Game 8 of Pool B between Team Japan and Team Australia at Tokyo Dome on Sunday, March 12, 2023 in Bunkyo City, Japan. Photo by Yuki Taguchi/WBCI/MLB Photos via Getty Images

We’re now past Thanksgiving, and the big free-agent dominos are beginning to fall. Each weekday, we’ll be bringing you the latest news, rumors and reports from around MLB. Wednesday’s edition features plenty of interesting items, from the Red Sox looking to swing a trade for a starter to the Giants eyeing the top of the free-agent market. (As a reminder, here are our top 25 free agents as well as the 10 most interesting trade candidates this winter.)

MLB Hot Stove rumors: Wednesday, Nov. 29

Red Sox in on trades for pitching

Few teams got less from their starting rotation last season than Boston, so it’s no surprise that new chief baseball officer Craig Breslow is hoping to add not one but multiple arms this winter — and is exhausting every potential avenue for doing so. Per a report from MassLive.com, the Sox are looking to the trade market to address their pitching needs before dipping into free agency. The strategy makes sense: Boston has some movable assets, in particular a glut of outfielders from Alex Verdugo to Ceddanne Rafaela, and the free-agent market doesn’t inspire a ton of confidence. Some potential targets include Brewers ace Corbin Burnes, White Sox righty Dylan Cease, Rays righty Tyler Glasnow and Guardians righty Shane Bieber.

Giants focused on Shohei Ohtani, Yoshinobu Yamamoto

If anyone needs a jolt this offseason, it’s the Giants, who are not only coming off a disappointing 2023 campaign — their second straight season without a playoff berth — but also find themselves in search for some sort of identity. San Francisco has come up short several times in its pursuit of a superstar free agent, but Jon Morosi reports that Farhan Zaidi and Co. are determined to try again:

The Giants have a ton of money, a great ballpark and a rich history, plus the opportunity to stay on the West Coast; on paper, they should be considered serious suitors for both Ohtani and Yamamoto. They’ve played some pretty anonymous baseball of late, however, and it remains to be seen whether they can sell a star on coming to San Francisco.

Yankees holding No. 18 for Yamamoto?

Another team with eyes on Yamamoto: the Yankees, who are apparently pulling out all the stops to land arguably the top pitcher remaining on the market. Per SNY’s Andy Martino, New York has intentionally withheld their No. 18 jersey so that they can offer it to the Japanese righty — it has traditionally been the number worn by aces in Japan, and it was Yamamoto’s number with the Orix Buffaloes for the last several years. Hiroki Kuroda wore 18 when he pitched in New York, with Masahiro Tanaka taking 19 when he came to the States out of respect for Kuroda. No Yankee has worn the number since Andrew Benintendi in 2022.